A Literary Landmark

 

Faulkner House is a national literary landmark. The 27-year-old future Nobel Laureate William Faulkner rented rooms on the ground floor in 1925, the same space that houses the bookstore today. Faulkner arrived in New Orleans as an unsung poet and by the time he left for France a year later, he was well on his way to becoming America’s most famous novelist.

Faulkner Plaque

Plaque outside of bookstore

Mentored by his neighbor Sherwood Anderson, who convinced him to shift his focus from poetry to prose, he had written and published his first novel, Soldiers’ Pay, within a year of arriving. To support himself, he wrote a series of poetic sketches about New Orleans, which later were collected in New Orleans Sketches. Faulkner’s first work was published by a New Orleans journal, The Double Dealer, founded by a group of talented New Orleans poets in response to H. L. Mencken's description of New Orleans as a cultural wasteland.

The journal was active for several years and also published the early work of Hemingway, Dos Passos, Sherwood Anderson and other authors who later became famous. Faulkner sub-leased the ground floor from William Spratling, the famous artist, jewelry designer, and architect, who later went on to regenerate the silver industry in Mexico at Taxco. Spratling himself was leasing the whole house from a Creole family. While living on Pirate’s Alley, Faulkner and Spratling produced a book satirizing their friends, Sherwood Anderson And Other Famous Creoles. New Orleans also provided inspiration for the future novels Mosquitoes, The Wild Palms, Absalom! Absalom!, and Pylon.